Thirteen-year-old Qusai was about to enter the sixth grade when the conflict in his hometown of Homs, Syria, caused him to drop out of school, flee with his family to Jordan, and spend his days sifting through scrap on the street to survive. While in school, Qusai had dreamed of being an engineer or a doctor. Now he says, “We work because we need to, we need the money…. Where do we get rent from if we do not work?”
Around the world, 160 million children like Qusai are involved in child labor, working instead of learning. Nearly 28 million children and adults are in forced labor. Finding a solution to these problems continues to be one of the world’s most pressing challenges. Overcoming this challenge will require new ideas, new ways of thinking, and innovative solutions.
The Labor Department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) publishes three flagship reports that raise awareness about child labor and forced labor, Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor; List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor; and List of Products Produced by Forced or Indentured Child Labor. Each year, ILAB releases a newly updated mobile app called Sweat & Toil to make over 1,000 pages of data on these problems more accessible. Now ILAB is making the source data open and available to everyone. What can you do to help #EndChildLabor?
ILAB’s Sweat & Toil datasets contain summaries of countries’ efforts to eliminate child labor; statistics on child labor; information on goods produced with child labor or forced labor; information on laws countries have adopted and international conventions they have ratified related to child labor; and suggested actions governments can take to end child labor.
ILAB’s Better Trade Tool is a web-based tool that matches ILAB’s essential reporting with international trade data to help policymakers, corporate compliance officers, procurement officials, labor inspectorates, and others better target enforcement of prohibitions on child labor and forced labor in the production of key goods and products.
Developers can use these datasets in their own applications, data visualizations and mashups with other data, while data scientists can use it to fuel further research. These tools help ILAB amplify and maximize the impact of the actions it is already taking to address child labor and forced labor. But ILAB doesn’t have all the answers. Transformative change can come from anywhere. We’re excited to see how you will make a difference!
The API & The App
Through its API, the Labor Department is opening the gates to ILAB’s massive reservoir of data on child and forced labor. Code from the Sweat & Toil app is also open source, enabling developers to understand how we use the API for our needs. By making this information on child labor and forced labor available and sharing our code, ILAB is fulfilling a key federal priority to modernize information technology to make more data readily available and useful to the public.
The Better Trade Tool
The Better Trade Tool matches ILAB’s essential reporting with U.S. import trade data. This tool’s dynamic dashboards and custom queries allow users to view potential labor exploitation risks in global supply chains and conduct U.S. import trade data analysis.
ILAB Research and Reporting
The foundation of the Better Trade Tool is built on ILAB’s existing in-house resources and reporting, including the List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor and the List of Products Produced by Forced or Indentured Child Labor. These lists include goods and country pairings that ILAB has reason to believe are produced by child labor, forced labor, or forced or indentured child labor in violation of international standards.
U.S. Census Bureau Import Trade Data
Using the U.S. Census Bureau USA Trade® Online API, the Better Trade Tool incorporates publicly available U.S. import trade data from all countries listed in ILAB reporting. The Better Trade Tool will be updated as data becomes available from the U.S. Census Bureau data release schedule.
Harmonized Tariff Schedule Classification and Mapping Reference
Developed in parallel with the Better Trade Tool, a team of classification specialists determined the correct tariff codes for the goods included in the latest versions of the List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor and the List of Products Produced by Forced or Indentured Child Labor to the nearest tariff code level possible, given the description and available tariff codes. The Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) of the United States comprises a hierarchical structure for describing all goods in trade for duty, quota, and statistical analysis.